Local business and consumer news. Openings, closings, deals, sales, what to buy and where to buy it, we round it all up and give you an insider's shopper's special on small business in Halifax. Contact shoptalk@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Coast 25: Align time with John Panter

One of The Coast’s original advertisers gives us a rolfing lesson.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2018 at 4:00 AM



ohn Panter has been rolfing chronic slouchers like me in Halifax since 1998—and advertising his services in a weekly ad in The Coast every week since without fail. The practice, invented by Ida P. Rolf in the 1950s, sees the practitioner re-align the patient’s body by re-adjusting the fascia, a connective tissue enmeshing the entire body that Panter says is stronger than some metals—“not steel, but certainly copper. We can’t talk to tissue but we can show it a better way to be,” he explains, sitting in his home office filled with overstuffed armchairs, bookshelves so weighed down they’re near collapse, and a box overflowing with back issues of The Coast. “It’s about showing the body a better way to work with gravity.”

This re-alignment seems to primarily come through the pressing and releasing of pressure points where bones and muscles meet. I lay down on the massage-style table in Panter’s treatment room, a tiny space at the end of the hall that has several Chinese silkscreen-style paintings taped on the white walls. A long-haired grey cat chatters as I adjust myself.

“His name is Gandalf, I think, but while I’m fostering him I’m calling him Fuzzy Face,” Panter says, lifting my legs in windmills to see my range of motion. He criss-crosses my arms across my body as I keep them limp: “Don’t help, don’t resist, just relax.”

Soon, the real work begins. Each rolfing session focuses on re-aligning a specific part of the body. We’re starting with the upper back and neck. He drives his thumbs into the space where my ribs attach to muscles. I yelp.

He presses along all the muscles in my neck (by the way, did you know your neck has several muscles?) with such intensity I’m sure I’ll be left with bruises (thankfully this doesn’t happen). At one point, he lifts my arm upwards and jabs into a part so deep in my armpit I shout the name of the entire holy family.

I roll onto my front.

“There are many theories about the dowager hump,” Panter says as he pushes along the sides of my upper spine. “Some, of course, is genetics. One theory, though, is that it’s a manifestation of all the pent-up physical aggression you have.” This feels like a stark contrast to the science-forward talk that he’s been giving up to this point, naming each muscle before pressing on the fascia surrounding it.

“Next time you’re upset, take a cushion off your couch and punch it.” If I wasn’t focusing so hard on not swear-yelling again, I’d roll my eyes.
Fuzzy Face jumps up on the table as we windmill my limbs again, seeing the difference in mobility the session’s given me. I sit up slowly, and, on Panter’s request, look at my posture in the full-length mirror leaning against the wall. I smile as I see I’m significantly more upright, and look about an inch taller.

The next day, I’m moving less rigidly but still feel taller and straighter. I keep catching reflections of myself in windows as I walk around town, impressed by the line my body follows. I’ll be back, but I’m not planning on taking pillows off my couch any time soon.
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Get ready for lake season with Makenew's swimsuit pop-up

She suits, she scores.

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 12:40 PM


Dive into summer head-first with some brand-new, locally made swimmers. Tonight Makenew (2698 Agricola Street) is summoning warm weather by hosting a Summer Swim Pop-up (Friday, May 18th from 8-10pm) with jams from DJ T-Woo, seasonal refreshments and special guests.

Meet the designers behind Girl On The Moon—a line of hand-crocheted bikinis from Alison Durning—and Sueno Swimwear. Sueno's Jo Tranter will bring a curated version of her collection to the shop along with some special suits made in collaboration AKG's (and Makenew's) Anna Gilkerson.

The pool party doesn't stop there. For those looking for thrifted throwbacks, there’ll also be vintage bathing suits up for grabs, plus Gilkerson’s SS18 collection of her AKG basics will be available.

RSVP online if you’re interested in a dip.
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Q+A: Art Pays Me designer Duane Jones on creativity and starting conversations

"If people feel uncomfortable I don’t mind that."

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Duane Jones says APM is "about finding that balance" between making money and being creative - ALEX PEARSON
  • Duane Jones says APM is "about finding that balance" between making money and being creative
  • Alex Pearson


uane Jones has been making conversation-starting streetwear under the label Art Pays Me for years, but this Saturday he’s trying something new: His first solo fashion show, a high-concept project titled Moments In Culture, that sees a departure from pieces like his WuTang-inspired t-shirts. Here, he sits down to talk about the creative process and high fashion.

Tell me the story of the name of your label?
“I grew up being told that being an artist isn’t necessarily the career path to go on, and then at one point, I started to believe it myself. But then I started seeing these artists who were able to make money while still staying true to their artistic vision. There is a way you can do both and Art Pays Me is about finding that balance.”

The name of your first solo show is Moments in Culture, what does that mean?
“When we first thought of the name of the show, I had two or three moments where I was like ‘I wanna design around these.’ Like for instance, we’ve started to step back and appreciate we’re on Aboriginal land. I’m addressing that in the show and some big media things that happened.”

How do you take something like realizing we’re on unceded Indigenous land and turn that into something visual, specifically clothes?
“I just spit it out in my sketchbook. Here, I’ll show you..."

[Jones opens his sketchbook to a page that reads “Our experience is valid” in rough marker strokes]

"More of my thinking is this is less of a fashion show and more of an artistic thing. This is me being able to depart from [t-shirts with logos] and just say ‘Look, these are some things on my mind.’ I might not even sell them after the show, I just wanna put this out there.”

Whenever the audience leaves, what do you want them to be thinking or feeling?
“I want them to talk about race openly. I want them to talk about gender, sexuality, culture. If people feel uncomfortable I don’t mind that.”

This show feels more like conceptual haute couture versus your typical streetwear looks. Does streetwear ever feel limiting because it needs to be more wearable?
“I find it is a hard thing to stand out in because I don’t have technical sewing skills. I have a lot of insecurity around describing myself as a fashion designer. I feel like I’m a graphic designer whose medium is clothing. It is definitely limiting, but it's a challenge I enjoy because I know I have to work within the parameters of a t-shirt and make something that’s interesting but that people can grasp by just walking by.”


Moments in Culture
Halifax Central Library, 5440 Spring Garden Road

Sat May 18, 7pm, $25
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Makin’ it New: Creating Sustainable Fashion Before it was Cool

How Anna Gilkerson went from selling her own clothes online to building a curated thrift empire.

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“A challenge is not the challenge itself, but how you respond to it,” Anna Gilkerson says, eight years after starting her curated thrift shop. She says her responses have evolved since the beginning of Makenew, knowing that no matter what challenge she faces, she is contributing to the ever-growing sustainable fashion movement every single day. 

Makenew Curated Thrift & Unique Essentials was, and still is, a one-of-a-kind shop—one that keeps Halifax both trendy and eco-friendly. And even though the concept is all the rage today, the “curated thrift store” idea was a foreign concept to the fashion industry when Gilkerson began in 2010.

Anna Gilkerson and her partner Zac from Makenew Curated Thrift & Unique Essentials
  • Anna Gilkerson and her partner Zac from Makenew Curated Thrift & Unique Essentials

“I was actually just trying to sell some of my own personal second-hand pieces online to make some extra cash,” Gilkerson says about the early days of Makenew. Soon, her background as a designer in Montreal and her experience with owning her first sustainable fashion line combined to uniquely position her perspective as an entrepreneur.

“It felt like I was curating,” Gilkerson says about staging her clothing on models. Her designer instinct knew that the presentation would read well visually. Inevitably, the craving for uniquely curated clothing caught on with online shoppers. To test how well the e-business would translate to the world of bricks-and-mortar retail, Gilkerson set up a few pop-up shops, and the community was officially hooked on the idea. 

Gilkerson recalls opening her first retail location—a tiny hole-in-the-wall upstairs from another thrift store. “I worked hard and tried to save as much as I could, buying more stock to keep the lines fresh,” she says. “I did it all: the trades, my own photography, marketing, buying, merchandising and bookkeeping. Everything.”

As the business grew, Gilkerson started thinking about a bigger location. She wanted a financial partner who believed in and understood her sustainable vision. And that’s exactly what CUA provided. 

“CUA helped me get what I needed to grow, while also encouraging realistic financial goals,” says Gilkerson. “It was important to CUA that I had a strong business model and good work ethic.” The advice that CUA gave Gilkerson motivated her to not only look out for her business, but also for herself. 

“My account advisor always took the time to sit down with me when I needed it. It was important to them that I was paying myself and not taking on debt. Those simple things are so important for small businesses, and CUA really understands that. CUA is way more than just a bank.” 

Makenew keeps growing both on and offline, with an increasing selection of quality clothing and accessories, as well as expanded hours for the Agricola Street store. Gilkerson has stayed true to the brand all the while experimenting with new ideas. Her customer base has expanded to connect with those aged 16-to-85. According to Gilkerson, any generation can find their unique style at the shop.

“Our customers are smart and follow global trends. They expect a lot—and they should. Aiming to please and offering a unique shopping experience will always be something we strive for at Makenew,” says Gilkerson, who continues to be hands-on with the business at all times. 

Spending half her time in the shop, Gilkerson splits her remaining hours sourcing pre-worn clothes and designing her own AKG clothing line, a slow-fashion model of fluid basics that is sustainably sourced and ethically made in Halifax. With the business bursting at the seams, additional help from a trusted source has been the secret to continued growth—that’s where Gilkerson’s partner Zac comes in. 

“He has been helping me behind the scenes for five years and officially joined the company in 2018. Zac’s skills and previous work in men’s fashion have taken Makenew to a new level. In addition to having experience with buying, merchandising and sales, Zac is also a trained photographer and filmmaker. Once we took the plunge, we realized right away it was the best decision for the growth of the business.”

With extremely full schedules, Anna and Zac find balance between Makenew and making time to relax. For this tailored pair, peace of mind comes with a daily dose of family time including eight-year-old daughter Elly, the family dog, bird, and sometimes a laptop. To learn more, visit makenewcollections.com or visit 2698 Agricola Street.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Guided Tour - Hydrostone

Posted on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 6:50 PM

Halifax Seed
  • Halifax Seed

Make plans for wealth

Assante Hydrostone is a wealth management company that has been firmly rooted in the Hydrostone area since 2010. Their holistic approach to wealth planning examines a client's investment goals, retirement and estate plans, and even more. Assante's team is experienced and has the specialized knowledge to ensure that their clients have access to all options and ideas, and that nothing is overlooked.

In building strong, long-lasting relationships with their clients, Assante is committed to watching your goals come to life. By creating a personal and complete wealth plan for you, they'll make sure that you are on the right path to your financial success.

Assante Hydrostone is a proud supporter of many local charities, including Street Connection, Make-a-Wish and motionball for Special Olympics. They also sponsor the neighbourhood's annual tree-lighting ceremony—a highlight of the holiday season. Assante Hydrostone is a true cornerstone of the community.  

Assante Hydrostone, 5548 Kaye Street

Halifax's French oasis

Dreaming of a summer immersed in the French language? There's no need to fly off to Paris or Quebec, when an easy trip to the Hydrostone's Alliance Française Halifax helps bring the French to you.

Alliance Française provides the HRM with top-quality French courses to keep your language sharp and ready to use at a moment's notice. Their week-long intensive is perfect if you've been looking to move up a level and really challenge yourself. Come in for six-hour days, and you'll find yourself speaking French in your sleep!

Alliance Française's instructors are passionate about increasing your language proficiency, and that goes for developing or maintaining your kids' language skills as well. With structured weekly classes, watch your children's French improve as they have the opportunity to practice, move up a level and be completely school-ready come the fall term.

Alliance Française Halifax, 5509 Young Street

Coming home to the Hydro

North end neighbourhood real estate expert Edie Hancock is a must go-to if you're looking for property in the area. Not only has she been in real estate for more than 30 years, but she probably knows the Hydrostone area better than anyone.

You can always trust Edie to help you find the exact space that suits you in this ideal location. From furniture stores to restaurants to other shopping amenities, the north end is your next great home! The area is booming with new clients moving in; Fort Needham Park upgrading benches, lighting and adding in a new playground; and lots of upscale high-rise buildings being built.

The Hydrostone is readily accessible to anywhere in HRM, especially with both rotaries now complete—a quick five-minute drive along North Park Street will get you to downtown. Edie has all the tips to keep you satisfied in this up-and-coming area, all while staying connected with other parts of town.

Reach Edie Hancock at 902-456-9988

Planting ideas

With spring in full bloom, us gardeners are looking for the best of the best for our backyards, and we wouldn't have it any other way than to find our seeds at Canada's oldest family-run seed company. Celebrating 152 years this spring, Halifax Seed Company knows a thing or two about our planting needs.

Whether you're a veteran gardener or a newbie trying to make it on your own, the Halifax Seed team is here to support you with all of your gardening projects. Ask your questions, and make sure to take in-depth notes—these staff members offer knowledgeable advice to make sure your crop is successful.

Not an outdoorsy person? Halifax Seed also has a full selection of indoor house plants, succulents and trendy containers to pair with. This urban garden centre has it all, from vegetables, flowers and herbs, to shrubs, berries and more. They just can't get enough of plants, and neither can we.

Halifax Seed Company, 5860 Kane Street

A neighbourhood with Heart

They captured our hearts in 1995 and have been nourishing Halifax ever since. As if we couldn't get enough before, a new location of Heartwood Restaurant has opened its doors to the Hydrostone community and we couldn't be happier. Or hungrier!

Heartwood loves feeding the community, almost as much as we love tasting their delicious creations. They've already settled into the area and contributed daily vegetarian lunches to the pre-primaries at the Shambhala School. Between the original Quinpool Road restaurant, the new Heartwood Hydrostone and their Heartwood By The Sea waterfront location opening up this week, there's no going without. There's a Heartwood in every nook to play a healthy role in feeding and fuelling the hungry locals and tourists.

Their Hydrostone location is every plant-lover's dream, with greenery lining the windows, the luscious trees canopying just outside and their veggie eats satisfying your every craving. Patio season is calling, and you know you'll need a Heartwood Bowl there by your side.

Heartwood Hydrostone, 3061 Gottingen Street

The eyes have it

Lang Optometry & Eyewear bring us comfort and style all wrapped up in one. After meeting with Dr. Gaétan Lang or Dr. Christopher Poh for your appointment, be prepared to find the exact unique look that you've been searching for—we all see differently, shouldn't our frames be different too?

The team at Lang's stop at nothing to bring us the best and the boldest eyewear they can locate. In addition to their already exclusive lines like Bruno Choussignand, Gaétan and his team have found another perfect addition to the family. Originating in Belgium, the brand "Theo" have that fashion-forward, colourful edge that Lang's is known for. By mixing primary colours with a variety of accents, there is a perfect match for every personality and face shape.

Theo, like Lang's, goes beyond the ordinary to show the HRM the beauty of colour possibilities and textures that will make your face pop. Lang Optometry & Eyewear, 5550 Kaye Street

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Venus Envy is turning 20

And it wants to celebrate with you

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 4:02 PM

  • via Instagram

“It’s pretty amazing for any small business to hit 20 years and I feel particularly proud a business like ours has been able to last so long. It speaks to something special about Halifax, it supports small businesses and people looking for products like ours,” says Marshall Haywood of Venus Envy’s (1598 Barrington Street) big anniversary. Halifax’s favourite source for sex-positive education and exploration will ring in two decades of doing its thing this Saturday, May 19.

The momentous occasion stirs up a strong urge to celebrate, which the shop’s keepers will do by hosting a massive sale (everything is 20 percent off), giving away freebies (first 20 shoppers to spend $25 get a gift) and good, make that great, vibes. We Vibes that is, they’ll draw for an anniversary collection valued at $260 on Saturday and have been giving out toys daily via Instagram. "We're pulling out all the stops," says Venus Envy's Christine Oilier, who's behind the festivities, which also include an enviable party Saturday night at Art Bar (1873 Granville Street). Doors open at 9pm for drag and burlesque performances, and lots of dancing. And the shop’s founder Shelley Taylor will be in town, too.

“She started the store as a very teeny tiny space on Inglis Street, it was volunteer staffed and she got some pushback opening a sex shop,” says Haywood, who bought the store from Taylor in 2008, of the early days. “I think attitudes have changed over the years—you can buy sex toys on Amazon and in pharmacies—but I think the fact is that even with more open-mindedness, people still want to have that connection.”

If you’ve had such a connection, and would like to share a Venus Envy memory, musing or anniversary shout out, send it to shelley@venusenvy.ca.
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Riot Pixie Boutique is ready to rock

Fun stuff headed for Paddler's Cove

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2018 at 1:00 AM

  • submitted

When Kristin MacLean got sick of shopping online, she did something about it. After two years of planning a way to share her love for everything “punkabilly”, she’ll open Riot Pixie Boutique this summer at Paddler’s Cove, overlooking Lake Banook. The feisty little shop will sell clothing that’s “’40s and ’50s style with a little bit of ’90s grunge”, accessories and quirky housewares.

“I’ve travelled across Canada four or five times and finally settled in Dartmouth in 2001 and fell in love with the arts and music scene here—and have a huge love of anything punk and rockabilly,” says MacLean of her inspiration. “My children are older now and I wanted something to put my all into and concentrate on.” Her boutique—which she hopes to open in early July—will carry brands like Too Fast Apparel, Sour Puss Clothing and Darkside Clothing, but MacLean hopes to get local artists and designers onto her shelves, too.

“I also want to use my space to help the community and give back,” she says, adding that she’s already thinking of ways to support local charities. MacLean hopes to make a few appearances in Dartmouth and Halifax via pop-up shops before opening her doors this summer, the first one taking place at Lola & Odin on a TBA date. Follow her for details.
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Friday, May 4, 2018

When you’re busy working hard, who you gonna call? Room Service.

An entrepreneurial nature led the Cannon brothers to their idea to better serve Halifax—anywhere, anytime.

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Do you ever wish you could get something delivered to you anywhere and at any time? Johnathan Cannon did, and this was the first time he thought something like an on-demand convenience delivery service could really work in the HRM.

One Christmas as Johnathan and his brother Craig were sitting and talking about careers and whether they felt fully fulfilled, the two realized they had some start-up energy bubbling up inside. Thanks to an entrepreneurial father, the young men had it in their blood, and decided to go for it. With the on-demand economy blowing up, they knew they wanted to launch a home delivery service of sorts. In a world where you can have underwear delivered monthly, Johnathan knew that people want the convenience of having anything being deliverable anywhere.

Johnathan Cannon from Room Service
  • Johnathan Cannon from Room Service
“It’s not something we expected to take off right away,” Johnathan says about their company Room Service, Halifax's online convenience store. “It’s not in the nature of the business. It’s more about when it’s 9:30 p.m. and raining, and you don’t want to leave your house—that’s when you know exactly who to call to bring you what you need.” The company, which delivers everything from candy and chips to personal care and baby items, was designed to make the average person’s day easier with the slogan: “Your time’s important, let us help you make the most of it.”

After thoroughly researching their idea, the Cannon brothers knew they had a winner. But the business hit an early road bump when it came to financing.

Johnathan had worked at one of Canada's big banks, once upon a time, so he naturally gravitated towards it when first financing the business. “I didn’t ask for a lot, so I was pretty confident that we’d get the loan," he says. But because Room Service was an original idea, there was no easy business model to compare it to, so in the bank's eyes it was too much of a financial risk. The bank refused to take that risk, and turned its former employee down. “I was bummed,” Johnathan says.

Luckily he heard about CUA, a Halifax-based banking institution, and the brothers met with Small Business Officer Donny Thomson—who was there to help them right from the get-go. “Donny was totally on board and loved our idea. He was knowledgeable and even had a background in start-ups and small business,” Johnathan says. “He was the perfect guy for us to work with.”

Thomson and the team at CUA did everything in their power to help make Room Service possible by connecting them with the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program. The program, supported by the Government of Nova Scotia, provides a guarantee to CUA on its financing in the form of term loans, working capital and lines of credit to small businesses. Thomson knew exactly what it would take to make this business happen, allowing the Cannon brothers to realize their dream of opening a small business.

“Banks say they care about small businesses—and I’m sure they do—but CUA actually has the ability to invest in small business’ big ideas with the support of the program,” says Johnathan. “With a business like us, one that is new to Halifax with no precedent to take after, it’s a risk, and honestly, Room Service wouldn’t have happened without CUA.”

CUA provided the business with the financing so they could boost posts and generate the buzz that they needed to end up at their current average of 125 orders per week. Since launching in late August, Room Service has grown from 115 products to 500, and is constantly looking for more ways to serve the area.

Behind the scenes, the brothers are busy working full-time day jobs as well. Some days Johnathan does the delivering until 3 a.m. after working his 9-to-5 tax management job. They have also brought their father and younger brother into the business, making it a family affair, and they see their clients as extended family. They get to spend more quality time together and stop to chat with almost each delivery. “The best part of all of it is it being a family business,” says Johnathan. “We made a promise to each other and ourselves that even if we had arguments and disagreements—and we would—that we would always love each other more than we love money.”

The team has seen tremendous growth so far and have their eyes set on further expanding within the next few months. They’ve put in another proposal with CUA to make it happen. With CUA’s help, Room Service will be able to expand and deliver even more goodies and essentials across HRM.

This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Zakka Mart is a treat

Check out this secret-ish spot for Japanese snacks and self-care rituals

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 8:49 PM

Xin Pang opened Robie Street's Zakka Mart with her partner in March - IAN SELIG
  • Xin Pang opened Robie Street's Zakka Mart with her partner in March
  • Ian Selig

You won’t have to look hard for much longer, Zakka Mart (2180 Robie Street) will only be a hidden gem for a little while. Taking up a vacancy on the corner of Robie and Cunard Streets, the inconspicuous storefront has no identifying signage other than the small “open” one that hangs on the door. The owner assures me that when it does, Zakka Mart could become your next destination to stock-up for your self-care rituals.

“We sell products from Japan, Taiwan and Thailand,” says Xin Pang, who quietly opened Zakka Mart with her partner Tony Chu last month. Not quite an Asian grocer, it feels like more of a variety store of primarily Japanese products. The shelves stock a mish-mash of dried goods, snacks, drinks and cosmetics.
Pang recognized Halifax’s desire for imported products: “When I studied at university, I found that local [Halifax] people love Japanese stuff.” Many of these products are not available anywhere else in the city, and would have to be hunted down online. By shopping at Zakka Mart, customers can get those hard-to-find goods—while dodging duty and shipping costs that make online shoppers go “yowza.”

The store is still a work-in-progress. Pang and Chu will fill-out their inventory throughout the coming weeks—eventually selling fresh and frozen groceries. Right now, grab a facemask and maybe some imported snacks to tide you over.
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Guided Tour - Downtown Dartmouth

If you’ve never really visited Dartmouth, you’re missing out. And if you haven’t been there lately, it’s time to go back.

Posted on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 5:57 PM

Scenes of Downtown Dartmouth, clockwise from above: Taste at The Canteen, grow with Urban Gardens, enjoy the great outdoors. - SUBMITTED
  • Scenes of Downtown Dartmouth, clockwise from above: Taste at The Canteen, grow with Urban Gardens, enjoy the great outdoors.

The ultimate gift-giver

Kept Gifts & Housewares, 75 King Street

Scrambling last minute to get that special someone a gift? Is your mom someone who says she wants nothing but would actually really love something? Kept takes the hassle out of your search by being your one-stop gift shop for the picky present receiver in your life.

Everyone wants to be a good gift-giver, and Kept makes it easy. You can leave it to the last minute and stop in on your way to the birthday party, wedding or special event, because you know they'll have you covered. From the cheeky cards, to the well-designed goodies, right down to the beautiful packaging, they have internationally sourced and locally made products to make your gift-giving effortless. Kept keeps it even easier and offers online shopping in April and May for those who can't make it over the bridge!

You'll walk in for someone else and walk out with a long list of gift-ideas for yourself. Alfter all, their slogan is "Everything you want to give and get."

Live more, stress less

Living Lighting Home Decor / Progressive Cabinets and Millwork, 560 Windmill Road

Brighten your day with 10,000 square feet of lighting at Living Lighting. The family operated business has been providing us with all of our lighting needs for 14 years. They continue to handle the "behind the scenes" layout work for us and never fail to provide customers—in Dartmouth and beyond—with recommendations and technical aspects so we don't have any stress added to our lighting projects.

Their fashion-forward showroom keeps up with current trends through an inventory rotation, but always offers clients classic pieces that fit within every space. With 40+ suppliers, and Atlantic Canada's largest selection for residential, commercial and hospitality lighting, you're sure to find something in your style and budget.

Their team adds to the light environment with their lively personalities and passion for the products, which shines through in each project they work on. They're all certified through the American Lighting Association, so you can feel confident knowing that you are dealing with the best.

The same vibrant environment is found with the five professional kitchen designers in Living Lighting's sister store: Progressive Cabinets. They specialize in local, custom cabinetry design and manufacturing, focusing on residential, multi-unit and commercial spaces. From design to installation, they'll be with you through every step of your project.

Leave your confusion at the door, and their staff will pick it up for you–they're determined to make your choosing experience effortless. They'll help you pick a custom design that fits your lifestyle and budget and one that suits the desired look and feel of your space. Stay within your comfort zone or add a current flare to the design features. Your options are endless.

The team is constantly joking with each other and their clients, making you forget you had a choice to make in the first place. Between these two stores, you'll have all of your lighting and kitchen design needs met with ease, and none of the stress.

Southern Italy next door

Il Trullo Ristorante, 67 King's Wharf Place

In need of a vacation? Il Trullo brings the feel of southern Italy right to Downtown Dartmouth for you. Sit amongst the natural structure based off a trullo, the unique conical roof found in southern Italy, and let yourself be transported to its home region of Puglia.

Who needs to hop on a plane when you have the clean atmosphere with the view of the water right here? Il Trullo ties the Mediterranean vibe together with light olive-oil based sauces and incorporating local fish into the menu items. With homemade traditional lasagnas and squid ink spaghetti, you're sure to get your Italian fix.

Il Trullo doesn't just use the idea of natural structure, they also incorporate recycled materials to make the interior space sustainable. The owners are passionate about sustainability and have trained their staff on their aggressive recycling and composting program. With its compostable take-away containers instead of plastic, eating at Il Trullo really does mean going back to our natural elements.

Flavours of Dartmouth

Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, 163 Portland Street

Hop on the ferry and take in the entire Dartmouth experience. Stroll down by the harbour, visit quirky retail shops and explore all of the novelty that can be found in the emerging neighbourhoods. With the Downtown area growing into a compact community, you can find something to do no matter what mood you're in.

Tim Rissesco, Executive Director with the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, says that "Downtown Dartmouth is home to many of the most celebrated independent shops and restaurants around, and the highlight has to be the growing food and drink sector.

"This scene is growing, and we have some of the best patios in the city. We're even getting two new craft breweries and a cidery this year. It's incredibly exciting," he adds. Already home to so many of our favourite go-to spots, the existing businesses welcome any new members to the Dartmouth family and are excited to share the wealth of downtown.

The wait is over

Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers + Poutinerie / Habaneros Modern Taco Bar, 380 Pleasant Street and 600 Windmill Road

You may see these guys popping up all over the HRM, but that hasn't compromised their loyalty to fresh food. Both Cheese Curds and Habaneros were founded in Nova Scotia and remain imbedded in the community with their made-in-house recipes. The majority of menu items are made from scratch and with just one bite you can taste the difference.

Founded by retired Navy cook Bill Pratt, Cheese Curds and Habaneros appeal to the picky eaters and the foodies. Whether you're a vegan, live with celiac or love your meats, you'll never go hungry as long as they're around. They're always changing up recipes, but they notice what's a hot seller and brought back the original chicken recipe and Bombay Vegan Curry for that reason. Bill always leaves room for the originals in the midst of novelty.

This family owned restaurant knows what works and they're determined to experiment until they've found the perfect taste—their slogan is "It's Worth the Wait" for a reason.

Designs through the decades

Retrospekt, 166 Ochterloney Street

Step through Retrospekt's door and travel back in time. Their mid-century modern furniture dates back to the 1950s and each piece has its own story to tell. The house is tailored to the furniture, where each room is created with an authentic feel, so you can visualize exactly where each piece belongs in your own home.

Wander through 1,500 square feet of space on two floors where you'll find sculptured floor lamps and Danish desks in the office, plus sexy bars and sideboards in the kitchen. Retrospekt has a little bit of everything for the collector and novice alike. Their furniture is restored and ready to last another 60 years.

Made by renowned designers and furniture makers of the period, these unique pieces are going to be the talking point of all of your social gatherings. Whether you purchase a new sofa, accent chair, bedroom set or wall unit, you'll be owning a piece of furniture that is authentic, versatile and timeless.

A family dream

Seamus David's Pub, 21 Logiealmond Close

Owning her own business is Beverly's dream come true, and it's ours too! Seamus David Pub brings local heart to the Dartmouth Crossing area, and is feeding us home-cooked meals before and after our shopping trips.

Located in an area surrounded by woods makes for a transporting country setting (and an amazing view during the summer patio season). After expanding in October and adding an extra 50 seats, there's plenty of room to host a private gathering, or to bring the entire gang in for their famous home-cooked style shepherd's pie, Guinness Irish stew, and juicy burgers.

Pop by on the weekend to listen to live local talent while you pair your meal with any of the 17 draught choices. Keep an eye out for daily deals served by the best staff around–most of them have been with Beverly from the very start and will treat you like part of the family, too!

Sewing community

Seam Work, 60 Queen Street, Unit A

When the space beside Urban Gardens Limited opened up, owner Adrienne knew that the growing Downtown Dartmouth was exactly where she wanted her business to be. Seam Work is a sewing studio with six working sewing machines and a heart for community teaching.

Adrienne has been a quilter for 20 years and shares her acquired knowledge with everyone who walks through the door. In addition to her open studio time, where sewers can come in and rent a machine for $7 an hour, Adrienne offers classes that stretch from beginner level to advanced, and succeeds at appealing to every skill level of sewer and maker.

Adrienne provides everything from scissors and mats to cutters—makers just have to bring their own fabric and she'll provide the rest. Seam Work is a space where like-minded people can gather together to learn and create, and sit with people who speak their same language.

A twist on the classic

The Watch That Ends The Night, 15 King's Wharf Place

The Watch that Ends the Night walks the line between restaurant and cocktail bar. With over 200 bottles of premium spirits to create their well-executed cocktails and with their contemporary rotating dinner and brunch menus, it's safe to say that this mid-century destination can do both.

Chef Mark Gray strives to use locally sourced ingredients to bring a multicultural flair to his Canadian contemporary vision and is a wiz with a charcuterie board (he even cures his own meats and seafood on site). On the cocktail side, their bartending team is constantly tweaking recipes to find the best versions of the classics. Try their Old Fashioned or Mai Tai on for size. Original cocktail menus change seasonally to keep it fresh and exciting.

What's more, The Watch contends to be the premier wine destination on the Dartmouth side of the harbour. With 75 seats overlooking the water and Halifax skyline, you can enjoy a mix of adventurous and comforting in all departments.

Sprouting near you

Urban Gardens Limited, 60 Queen Street

The Dartmouth community is filled with avid gardeners, and Urban Gardens Limited was created to be the one-stop green shop for all of your horticultural needs. Their knowledgeable team is always ready to hear about your next project and offer you the best advice combined with quality products made from recycled materials.

Their love for tinkering and growing sustainably has inspired a strong background in hydroponics, but rather than specializing in one type of thing, they have their hands in multiple plotting grounds. Urban Gardens offers a wide selection of house plants, mums sprouting seeds, hand and garden tools and both indoor and outdoor gardening supplies.

The retail store keeps it local from start to finish, and has access to greener technology to help take you there. Urban Gardens Limited is passionate about bringing you health from your own backyard, whether it's nutritious and delicious or relaxing and spiritual, they'll help you find wellness through your garden.

The change agents

Tara MacDonald Fit Club, 133 Baker Drive, Suite 103

Summer is on its way, and we know what that means? Hiking, swimming and everything else active! It can be tricky to get back into the swing of things, but Tara at Tara MacDonald Fit Club makes it easy and comfortable to get your workout groove back.

They are a personal training club for men and women, and open to all ages and sizes. No matter where you are in your fitness regime, Tara and her team are devoted to helping you make the decision for change—it's what they do!

Customize your workout to suit you, or make some friends in their offered group fitness classes. TRX, Yoga and Zumba are all a perfect combination to help you sweat, stretch and teach you some new dance moves. Tara MacDonald Fit Club is part of the Baker Drive Health & Wellness Group, which includes their club sponsor Soles in Motion, so you have an entire plaza rooting for you to get your health on.

It's a whole new bar game

St. Louis Bar & Grill, 547 Portland Street, Penhorn Plaza

Everyone needs a friendly neighbourhood sports bar, and if you don't have your go-to place yet, then St. Louis Bar & Grill is cheering your name. Watch the game alone and meet like-minded fans around you, or bring the entire gang for your Sunday night tradition. It's time you found a new bar routine.

Even if you're not a sports fan and are being dragged out by your friends, there's no better place to be stuck than somewhere with famous garlic dill sauce–perfectly creamy to top your wings or fries. Lucky you, they have specials on 7-days-a-week, so no matter what your craving for bar food will be more than satisfied.

Join them for live music on Saturdays or to cheer on your favourite team. The atmosphere and service will leave you buzzing even if you haven't had a beer, and before you know it, you'll be coming every week.

Brunch is just the beginning

The Canteen, 22 Portland Street

Saturdays mornings are meant for brunch, and what better place to start your weekend than at our go-to spot, The Canteen on Portland. This feel-good neighbourhood restaurant is part of the downtown Dartmouth experience. You can't miss it: Just step off the ferry, walk 150 steps from the terminal and you'll spot the vibrant green facade.

This 2017 Best of Halifax awards recipient has won over our hearts (and our stomachs) with classic, locally inspired dishes. Chef Renée Lavallée adds her own twist to familiar dishes such as steak frites, our favourite haddock burger and her award-winning seafood chowder.

The combination of a great selection of craft beers, local wines and top-notch service makes return visits a necessity.

Can't stick around? Their sister restaurant, Little C (located next door), helps you bring The Canteen taste home with you with their take-away dinners, sandwiches, salads and soups.

They're always coming up with something fresh, and we can promise they're cooking up something special for this summer season—stay tuned!

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Get ready to take it all out on Halifax's first Rage Room

April showers bring May SMASHING

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 4:10 PM


"It's just one of those days where you don't want to wake up. Everything is fucked and everybody sucks."

Fred Durst said it first in 1999, but in 2018 those words are still relevant as all get out.  And Terry LeBlanc seems to agree. He's the manager of the soon-to-be mother of all stress relievers, Halifax's first and only Rage Room.

"I think it’s great to have a safe outlet for people who want to break stuff for whatever reason," says LeBlanc. "I truly believe it—it’s a win- win."

Halifax's frustration station will open its doors at 2820 Isleville Street sometime in May, welcoming the ragey-est (and 18+) among us for 45-minute session of smashing the shit out of...well, everything.

"We provide protective clothing," which he says includes coveralls, a face mask, chest protection and gloves. "And then various weaponry." Rage Room attendees can pay $20 if they bring their own box of breakables, or use LeBlanc's ("dishes, glasses, plates vases, printers, electronics") and pay anywhere from $30 to $100.

Serious bonuses: LeBlanc can pipe in your favourite plate-smashing jams ("You Oughta Know", obvi) and load a video of your rage session onto a USB if you bring your own.

Keep an eye on the Rage Room's website for opening dates.

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Shopkeeper's best friend: 5 businesses with pets

Dear cat people and puppy cuddlers: If you’re in need of an animal visit, these businesses have you covered.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Zwicker’s Gallery’s sweet babies, Mingus and Elliot. - RACHEL MCGRATH
  • Zwicker’s Gallery’s sweet babies, Mingus and Elliot.
  • Rachel McGrath


ometimes, in cities like New York, there will be a random cat roaming around a convenience store. Or a sleepy dog barely visible behind a desk or counter. Halifax is no different—friendly pets can also be found in businesses of all kinds. And it’s not just cats and dogs. (There’s also a bunny.)

An amicable dog named Graty spends the business days at Oddfellows Barbershop (6451 Quinpool Road.) The six-year-old pug/beagle mix hangs out with the business’ owner—and his owner—Joel Martell. Graty loves to keep customers company while they wait for appointments. “It’s not uncommon for Graty to curl up in a customer’s lap for like 20 minutes,” says Martell. Graty is so popular, in fact, he even has visitors who come just to see him. “He’s definitely the personality around here,” says Martell. “He’s the whole damn package.”

At Zwicker’s Gallery (5415 Doyle Street) are two confident and curious cats, Mingus and Elliot, roaming around the Maud Lewis paintings and antique statues. “They’re always present,” says gallery assistant Rebecca Winn. “Mingus likes landscapes and abstracts—that’s what I catch him looking at the most.”

At 3600 Kempt Road are two dogs ready to greet customers at Etc. Press, Otis and Henry. Joan Warren and her husband are the owners of the two rescues and bring them to work every day. Most days, she says, they either sleep a lot or run to meet people at the door. “They’re part of the family,” she says, “We found it’s really therapeutic to have a dog [here].”

At Finer Things Antiques (6438 Quinpool Road) is a few-months old French bulldog puppy named Wally. He succeeds another French bulldog, Louie, who was in the store for seven years. His owner, Jack Craft, says the breed is typically really laidback and friendly, and this mixes well with customers. “People love him. He’s kind of a celebrity,” he says of Wally. The puppy’s favourite activities while at work? Sleeping, playing and greeting the store visitors “He’s with us all day. And Wally’s a bit of a therapy dog. He can lift somebody’s spirits,” says Craft.

Tucked away behind the front desk of The Dart Gallery (127A Portland Street) in Dartmouth is an adorable grey-and-brown bunny named Huxley. His owner, gallery owner Jane MacDougald, first brought him into work because another bunny he was in love with had passed away. MacDougald says Huxley is very social, charming and cuddly. When it’s appropriate for him, he comes out and meets people. “Bunnies in love is the cutest thing you can imagine,” she says. “He was a little bit lonely and used to having company.”

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Coffin Skate Shop is alive

Ready to roller.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 5:42 PM

  • coffinskate.com

Stephanie Coffin
and James Parker opened Coffin Skate Shop sort of quietly in September, sharing a space within Octopus Skates (5687 West Street) and filling a void in the local roller derby and roller skating scene. You see, the closest skate shop is Montreal. Considering roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the world, Coffin says, that makes no sense.

“I’ve been involved with Anchor City Rollers for six or seven years,” says Coffin, who learned the sport, skated competitively and now teaches new skaters with the organization. “The frustration with new skaters is that there’s nowhere to try on equipment and ask questions. A lot of them just kind of went online and sometimes ended up buying things that weren’t good for roller derby.”

She says she heard similar complaints from folks across the Maritimes, and finally decided she had to do something. “I knew there was a need but didn’t anticipate the reaction,” says Coffin of the buzz that came along with her shop’s expansion. Last week, it re-opened at 2456 Agricola, which is double the size of its first home, and includes space for indoor skate training. The shop sells skates, padding and gear, on-site servicing and will eventually offer lessons, work-outs and pop-up events (like, roller discos!).

The shop is open Saturdays and Sundays, 12-5pm, and will celebrate its grand opening Saturday, May 5.  Coffin hopes to cater to jam skaters, recreational rollers and of course, her derby community.

“The sport built strength and confidence I didn't realize was there” she says. “And improved the relationship I have with my body.”

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Forest Child Natural Beauty comes out of the woods

Olivia McMackin goes skin-deep and then some with her online shop for natural beauty products.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 4:17 AM

  • Jaclyn Doyle

Olivia McMackin grew up in the middle of nowhere, Nova Scotia. With no neighbours as far as her eyes could see, she spent most of her childhood outside with her sister “having a sort of idyllic life running around in the woods.” This connection to the natural world had a massive impact on her life, but it wasn’t until her health started giving her trouble that her mind really returned to it.

“It was a long process trying to find a diagnosis, so I was doing a lot of reading, trying to figure out what was going on,” says McMackin. “I found out what a heavy burden the chemicals in some of the products we use on our bodies, and it smacked me across the face. I had no idea.” That’s when she detoxed her own product regime, and got kind of obsessed with learning more and helping others learn more, too.

After spending all of her spare time as a self-proclaimed “research-aholic”, and moving back to her home province, Forest Child Natural Beauty—an online shop that curates top quality, high performance, clean skincare and beauty products— was born. “Once I found all the suppliers and vendors that met that stringent criteria, they were amazing to take a chance on me,” says McMackin, of her business, which launched in the late fall.

Aiming to be a one-stop shop, she keeps an inventory of hand-picked makeup, skincare and cleansing products and sells them via her website, but she also offers group consultations and has been popping up at various Halifax shops with her products in tow. (She’ll be at Bhavana Yoga Boutique—3063 Gottingen—from 3-6pm on April 6 and 20, May 4 and 18 and will host Green Your Beauty Routine there April 22, 2-4pm.)

“Most people know there’s something better they can be using, but it can be very overwhelming to do the work,” McMackin says. “I wanted to take that barrier out of the way for people.”

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Halifax street style: Ashburn Avenue

Scouring the streets for the city's most fashionable.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 4:33 PM


Name: Braeden Kaulbach

Age: 25

Spotted: Ashburn Avenue

Wearing: Hat, Carhartt WIP(Rchmnd); scarfs, Acne (Rchmnd); sweater, thrifted (Value Village); pants, Raf Simons, (Rchmnd); shoes: Raf Simons Ozweego (Rchmnd); long coat: Publish (Off the Hook)

How would you describe your style?

 Comfortable and unique. 

Who/where do you derive inspiration from when putting together an outfit?

I take a lot of inspiration from hip hop artists, along with other various social media accounts and friends within the local community. A$AP Rocky is one of my biggest fashion influences.

How does living in Halifax affect your fashion choices?

I think it pushes an individual to get more creative in trying to achieve a certain look. Given the limited options Halifax has to offer, you need to check out new shops and socialize with people to create the outfits you want.

Name a current trend that you just can't get on board with?


Favourite local shop?

If it wasn't obvious, Rchmnd.

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In Print This Week

Vol 26, No 12
August 16, 2018

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